By Ozak Esu

To mark Women in Engineering Day, we asked a number of our female engineers to share their stories and experiences of being a woman in this previously male dominated industry. Click here to view answers from others.

What does women in engineering day mean for you?

It is a celebration of UK’s 6% female engineering workforce and a day to inspire the next generation of engineers dispelling gender barriers and diversify the engineering workforce.

What is the most difficult gender related issue you have encountered in your working career?

Fortunately, I have not encountered any difficult gender related issue in my early working career. My hope is that with the increased efforts in raising awareness and promoting females to pursue careers in engineering, it becomes the norm and I will not have to face any difficult gender related issues in the future.

What have you done to promote women in engineering?

In the past, I have mentored and served as a judge on projects such as; EDT Headstart residential course, first Lego League and CREST Awards. I have also been involved in UCAS events at Loughborough University speaking to students ahead of their A Levels to ensure they were offering the correct subject combinations to enable them pursue degrees in engineering.

I have been a STEM-Ambassador for four years. I speak to young people in schools about my role in engineering and the roles they could be filling in the engineering workforce. I mentor students at my university in person (where possible) and via social media. Since joining Cundall, I have been able to participate in work experience and placement open days. As a result, two girls from King Edward VI Handsworth School completed their work experience week at our Birmingham office. An undergraduate from Aston University will be starting her yearlong placement in September.

I am a volunteer tutor with the Access Project in STEM subjects (GCSE) encouraging pupils to excel in these subjects.

One piece of advice you would give to a young female starting out in a career in engineering?

Find a mentor (male/female) to guide you through your career and be a mentor to guide the younger ones to a career in engineering. In giving back, you develop skills and expand your network, which influences your career in many positive ways. It is a cycle!

What are the top five positive things about being a woman in engineering?

The looks of admiration I get in non-professional settings as if I am a superhero for being a female engineer when I am only doing what I love.

I however like engineering because it is:

  1. Challenging – in a good way! Developing solutions to problems and making a difference even in the smallest amount makes me happy.
  2. Involves team working – I enjoy interacting with people because it offers different perspectives to solving problems, some of which I may not have thought of.
  3. Variety – I get bored of routine quickly and so it helps that no two projects are alike no matter how similar they may seem.
  4. Constantly evolving and changing.

What are the top five negative things about being a woman in engineering?

I cannot think of any negatives.

Click here to view answers from others.

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Ozak Esu, Women in Engineering, Working at Cundall

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